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    8,600 guns seized in Chicago in 2017

    Chicago ends 2017 with 650 murders, a grim sign of improvement

    Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY Published 1:12 p.m. ET Jan. 1, 2018 | Updated 8:24 a.m. ET Jan. 2, 2018

    Chicago ended 2017 with fewer homicides than the year before, but gang violence in the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods kept the total number of killings above the 600 mark for only the second time in more than a decade. Time


    (Photo: John J. Kim, AP)


    CHICAGO—The nation’s third-largest city ended 2017 with 650 murders, about 15% fewer homicides than a year earlier but still an unusually high number of killings during a period when other big cities have seen a reduction in violence, according to police data released Monday.

    While there was a significant drop in gun violence in the city in 2017 compared to the year prior, Chicago topped the 600 mark for the second straight year and continues to see a level of violence that was typical of the late 1980s and 1990s when many major metros were dealing with the scourge of gang-fueled drug violence.


    For the second straight year, Chicago also tallied more murders than New York City and Los Angeles combined. In fact, New York’s murder rate fell to the lowest the Big Apple has seen since the 1950s.


    The number of shooting incidents in Chicago dropped from 3,550 to 2,785 for the same period. Police say they bulk of the violence is gang-related.


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    More: At end of bloody year in Chicago, too few murders solved


    “While we made significant progress this year, we’re certainly not celebrating, “ Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters. “There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re headed in the right direction.”


    Chicago Police officials say they were able to make progress in stemming violence with the launch of what they’ve dubbed Strategic Decision Support Centers — data driven nerve centers that the department says have helped it more quickly respond to shootings and help officers predict where the next incident may occur. In the six districts where police launched the nerve centers in 2017, murders and shooting incidents decreased by about 25%, Johnson said.

    Officers also increased arrests for gun-related violations by 27% and seized 8,600 firearms off the city’s streets.


    President Trump has repeatedly ridiculed Chicago officials for doing too little to stem the violence. The president has compared the city to a “war-torn” nation and called the violence “horrible carnage.”


    While Chicago recorded more killings than any other U.S. city, other large metros saw a higher per capita murder toll in 2017. Baltimore recorded 343 murders in 2017, the second-highest toll the Charm City has seen in a single year and the highest per capita in city history, according to the Baltimore Sun.

    St. Louis' homicide toll reached 205 as of Sunday afternoon, or about 65 murders per 100,000 people. By comparison, Chicago recorded 24 murders per 100,000 residents.


    For the first half of 2017, Chicago was on pace to tally more murders than it did in 2016, when the city recorded 771 murders, according to police data. But the department began to see progress as it pressed ahead with its tech surge.


    Johnson said that department plans to expand the data-driven nerve centers to more city neighborhoods in 2018. He also expressed optimism that a new state law that calls for tougher sentencing for gun crimes would help reduce the violence.


    The new law, which went into effect Monday, provides guidelines for judges to sentence repeat gun offenders at the higher end of the existing sentencing range, while expanding diversion programs for first-time nonviolent offenders.


    Gun violence in Chicago has disproportionately impacted a few, low-income and predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides, according to police data.


    “It’s no secret that some of our neighborhoods have felt the effects of illegally obtained firearms, and the offenders who are willing to use them for far too long,” Johnson said.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...ent/994281001/

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